No/One #1 – Image Comics
Creative Team: Kyle Higgins (Radiant Black), Brian Buccellato (Detective Comics), Geraldo Borges and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Welcome to a very special edition of Parlay Points, the comic book review blog to the ODPH Podcast by way of Nerd Initiative!
For this entry, we are checking out one of the biggest events/series to debut in 2023. “The Massive-Verse”, the home of comic’s most exciting new universe, has been setting an extremely high standard in creativity and storytelling. Since expanding its’ roster following 2022’s “Super-Massive” crossover, the franchise only continues to grow in popularity.
The Massive-Verse Expands
With successful debuts for characters such as Rogue Sun, The Dead Lucky and Inferno Girl Red (to name a few), fans have been waiting with heightened anticipation to see how this growing roster would shape up. With announcements such as “The Catalyst War” coming in RADIANT BLACK & “SuperMassive 2” dropping in May, the buzz around this line has grown to a fever pitch.
Before we get to those events, there’s one series/event leading the way that is going to set the pace for those events. The way they’re presenting this is such a breath of innovative fresh air, that it simply can’t be ignored or passed up on.
What (Or Who) Is No/One?
NO/ONE #1 by Kyle Higgins (RADIANT BLACK), Brian Buccellato (Detective Comics), Geraldo Borges & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, welcomes a new character into the ranks of the “Massive-Verse” with an explosive debut that doesn’t just stay in the pages of the comic. The 10 issue maxi-series continues the story via the companion podcast “Who Is No/One”. The real life podcast will star Rachael Leigh Cook & Patton Oswalt as the reporters trying to solve the mystery behind the vigilante running around Pittsburgh.
This is such an imaginative idea to accompany the comic, but considering what Higgins and company have done with QR codes leading to animated shorts, gatefold issues (see Radiant Black #18) and so forth, it is another reason that the “Massive-Verse” stands out from the rest on the comic shelves each time out.
The wait is finally over! No/One hits comic shops this week on March 15th! Let’s see what this Image Comics/Black Market Narrative debut issue is all about, shall we?
*** POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING ***
A Body Is Found
The book opens up in the Cultural District of Pittsburgh at an art exhibit. A couple is conversing about the pieces along with referencing that murders are running rampant through the city. They end the conversation to get some alone time on a rooftop balcony but are interrupted with the discovery of a dead man named Louis Capel with four bullet holes in his chest. Meanwhile standing across the building on a rooftop looking down is the mysterious vigilante No/One.
At the crime scene, detectives August Singh and Kate Harper are investigating the scene. They are two the detectives assigned to the case of Richard Roe aka “The Accountability Killer” and his copycats. The mystery of Roe has been haunting Pittsburgh since his first known video comments in May of 2022. Now, nearly a year later, the toll its taken on the detectives is clearly visible to the readers.
Singh is venting openly how done he is with everything relating to Roe, this being the allegedly third copycat killing. Singh’s rant in interrupted by Pittsburgh assistant chief Ben Kern, who’s got a vested interest in the case. Kern is handed a note found on the victim. Before he can react, Chief Mixon calls in to have Kern removed from the scene.
Public Tension Rises
Outside the building, a mob of frightened and angry citizens have gathered to find out what has happened. One of which being Pittsburgh Ledger reporter Julia Paige, who’s digging into the case herself. Readers don’t wait long to find a clue of who Assistant Chief Kern has a deeper investment in this case as the mob starts shouting at him about his son.
The following day, Singh and Harper are talking with Capel’s family concerning the murder. The conversation is emotionally charged, (as expected) but readers find out that Capel was a digital target of No/One previously. However, there is someone else watching the events unfold from a distance. Meanwhile, at the Pittsburgh Ledger, Editor Teddy Barlow has made the call. Julia will host a podcast breaking down the Richard Roe case since the public is visiting the main webpage in record numbers.
No/One’s shadow weighs heavy on the public, but arguably Ben Kern carries the full baggage. Readers see two very important conversations: One involving his son Michael (who’s battling his own personal demons) at Neomi Kern’s grave. The other is at the Allegheny County Jail to see Aaron Kern, who is also known as Richard Roe, the accountability killer!
Where We Are Going
What is said during these conversations that pulls Kern into a new direction trying to solve the case? After leaving the jail, an action happens that raises more questions to an already complex case! Readers will not be ready for what transpires there, but just wait for the final few pages. Within those moments, the drama has been turned up another notch building towards a shattering final image that will leave readers shocked and excited to get the next issue in their hands immediately.
Check Out This Other Awesome Comic From Image Comics
Higgins and Buccellato weave a multi-layered mystery within the initial debut. Richard Roe’s impact has been felt for almost a full calendar year (the timeline of events is featured at the end of the book with a great character index & details about Aaron Kern) and the writing reflects the frustration of the citizens of Pittsburgh while slowly unveiling the man behind the mask.
The pacing breaks down the large cast into three focused areas. Singh and Harper’s panel time reflects the citizens, with the anger and anxiety that Roe’s actions have caused. Paige’s story feels as if it will be told through the eyes of the reader as she sets forth to present the details of the case with a “reasonable voice.”
Their stories take a step back in comparison to the tale of the Kern family. Higgins and Buccellato portray Ben Kern as a conflicted character balancing his fatherly duties to his civic duties as an officer. Kern’s struggles shine through with the conversations with his son. Both have a different tempo and distinct endings, which makes what follows that much greater. The final set-up of the last pages are exceptionally placed to add a building tension to its’ jaw-dropping conclusion.
Borges wastes no time in bringing the strong reactions of “No/One’s” actions to the readers. There is a full page panel showing Capel’s demise that pulls no punches (including the couples reaction). It’s matched with a fantastic two-page spread with No/One standing over the rooftop watching. Borges captures the strain and wear that Roe’s actions have taken on the detectives and the people of Pittsburgh.
This comes right to the forefront when Singh & Harper talk with Capel’s family. There is a great action moment sprinkled in the story which is incredible and sets up a great twist but this issue’s emotional builds are what will have people talking. Borges uses a multi-panel format (7-9) which echoes a “Watchmen” feel in bringing Ben Kern’s drama with his sons to the readers. The perfect example of this technique is the final pages of the book which concludes with an exclamation point final image.
The latest entry into the “Massive-Verse” establishes itself as a must-read mystery that simply can not be missed. Higgins, Buccellato, Borges and the rest of the team present a city on the edge, with an enigmatic figure at the center of it’s breaking point. Phenomenal writing and imagery set the stage for not just a book, but an event that comic fans can’t afford to miss at the local comic shops and in podcast form with “Who is No/One.”
Hit me up on ODPH social media and let me know what you thought of No/One #1 and the companion podcast “Who is No/One“. Thanks for reading Parlay Points on Nerd Initiative.
Till next time…Thanks For Reading!